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Jim Carroll

Praying Mantis

(Noble Rot; US: 29 Jan 2008; UK: 4 Feb 2008)

If you ever wish to obtain a true taste of pre-gentrification New York City, look no further than the artistry of acclaimed poet/novelist/rocker Jim Carroll.  But while most who know of him are predominantly familiar with his renowned memoir-turned-Leonardo DiCaprio star vehicle The Basketball Diaries, or his indelible 1980 Atco/Rolling Stones Records music debut Catholic Boy, 1991’s Praying Mantis deserves to be recognized with equal aplomb.  This equally sobering and entertaining spoken word performance was culled from a live Carroll reading of excerpts from his poetry anthologies, chief among them 1972’s Living at the Movies and 1986’s The Book of Nods, at the old Poetry Center at St. Mark’s Church.  And in his classic New York accent, he paints a spirited, visually-encapsulating image of the city neighborhoods he called home through a series of vignettes that puts you right inside the roach-infested haunts he and his friends fraternized in.  For those of you who always wanted a taste of the NYC that existed before the developers came in and sanitized the life out of it, Praying Mantis makes for a most essential meta-historical guide.

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Ron Hart is currently enjoying his 11th year as a professional music journalist. In addition to PopMatters, he has also written for such publications as CMJ, Billboard.com, SPIN.com, The Village Voice, Gear, Paper, SHOUT NY, Paperthinwalls.com, Blender, Yellow Rat Bastard, Good Times, Paste, and Barnesandnoble.com among others. He is also the editor and publisher of the Interboro Rock Tribune, a free NYC music zine now in its 6th year in print. Please give us traffic on our website at http://www.irtmag.com.


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